We have always understood that home dust is not particularly good. But if earlier, returning from work, they treated the accumulated dust as inevitable, now, when many works and generally spend much more time at home, the problem has become more acute than ever. How dangerous is the dust under the sofa? And on the couch? Dealing with dust and its consequences.
Dust and intestines
Now we know very well that the gut affects literally everything in our body – from health to mood. It would seem, what does the dust have to do with it. But house dust, being a fomite (carrier of dangerous and not very microorganisms), can change the composition of bacteria in the intestines. This conclusion was reached by Canadian scientists who studied the composition of fecal bacteria of 20 three-month-old babies and found a significant coincidence in the microbial community of a child and dust from his home. It is assumed that dust and a person can “change” by bacteria in both directions. But this in this case is not very comforting, but rather the opposite. Also, potentially toxic chemicals are always present in the dust. Moreover, there are many more of them (and the list is much more diverse) than one might assume.
Dust mites and why they are dangerous
Although the name sounds creepy, they are actually tiny insects belonging to the arachnid class that feeds on dust and look like dust. They like warm (about 21 degrees) and humid (about 70%) environments and can cause quite a strong allergic reaction in humans. This happens when we inhale the waste products of dust mites, and then the immune system starts to work at full capacity, producing antibodies.
Symptoms of a dust mite allergy include sneezing, runny nose, itchy and red eyes, itchy nose and throat, nasal congestion, and coughing. If symptoms worsen at home, especially when cleaning or when you go to bed, it’s worth talking to an allergist. It is also useful to wash bedding in hot water at least once a week and dry it thoroughly to reduce the risks.
What the street dust hides
And yet, most of the dust (almost 60%) that we collect with a wet cloth and vacuum cleaner at home is taken from the street. She enters the apartment with clothes, shoes, and pet fur, through open windows, doors, and ventilation. It can be very different in size and composition and can also be toxic.
Scientists are particularly concerned about lead, which can build up in soil and dust from industrial emissions, vehicles that burn gasoline, and lead-based paints. There is strong evidence that our bodies absorb more lead if we breathe it in. At the same time, it accumulates inside the body in bones, blood, and tissues, and can cause anemia, weakness, disorders in the functioning of the kidneys and the brain. It is also known that lead can cross the placental barrier so that pregnant women exposed to lead also put their baby at risk.
Important Note: All of this happens with regular exposure to lead or poisoning with it. But it is clear that being present in the dust, this component also does nothing good for us.
Physical activity. Finally, while cleaning is certainly not an elliptical trainer, it can be a good way to stay active throughout the day. People with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease fell better (and their health scores were also better) if they clean homes. Pet dander can cause some pretty serious breathing problems, including allergies and asthma. Regular cleaning of the room in which you live will reduce the risks (associated, by the way, also with mold).